How to stay motivated whilst working from home
Working from home sounds easy and stress-free but it’s not when you lose motivation easily
If you’re like me, you’re easily distracted. You often find your mind drifting off from the task at hand, especially if that task is not particularly stimulating. Whilst in an office environment, there are certain things that maintain your focus. Like your manager’s presence and the ever-impending threat of being fired if you’re caught finding out what type of cheese you are on a Buzzfeed quiz. When you’re working from home, that threat is not as prominent. The Buzzfeed quizzes you complete come at no additional cost. So far, I have found out I am Moana, Edam cheese and Lucas Scott is my 2000’s TV Boyfriend. However, I am also aware that if my work isn’t done, amongst the endless Buzzfeed quizzes I MUST complete, then I will be fired and have no money to survive. Bearing that in my mind, this is how I stay, somewhat, motivated whilst working from home.
Wake up early
Now that there is no need for a commute longer than getting from your bedroom to your office space, there is no need to get up hours before your start time. That being said, I always find myself more awake and ready to work if I wake up at least an hour before I start. This gives me time to have a shower, eat breakfast, and have a pre-work coffee, ready to start my day.
When you were at school, were you ever told that if you dressed smartly you would think smarter? Well, there seems to be some kind of truth behind that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not working in a three-piece suit and heels five-days a week, but I am getting dressed before I begin working. Even if it’s just putting on a pair of leggings and a loose-fitting shirt, putting on a ‘work uniform’ as such allows me to separate my working time at home from my relaxing time at home, thus making me more productive. That doesn’t mean I don’t still go braless every day!
Make an office space
Not everyone will have a home office, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make yourself an office space. I am currently working in my living room, which is also my space for relaxing. To separate my workspace from my relaxing space I have deconstructed my couch. I sit on two couch cushions and use a fold-out table as a make-shift desk, rather than using my laptop on my lap. This creates a pseudo office environment for me and makes me, almost, think that I am in my office.
Turn off your phone
My phone is my biggest distraction. I am constantly checking my texts, checking my social media channels, making phone calls, etc etc. Working in Digital Communications, there are times when I need to use my phone to monitor social channels or upload something. That being said, I try and limit my screen time whilst I’m at work and only use my phone as a necessity or when I am on my break. This is not only limiting my distraction but is also allowing me time away from a small screen that can damage my eyes.
Have regular screen breaks
Speaking of limiting your screen time, to maintain your motivation whilst working from home it’s good to take regular screen breaks. Getting away from your screen increases your creative thinking, whilst giving yourself some downtime to think about other tasks you may have. I tend to use my screen breaks to wander around my home, wash the dishes, or just have a chat. It’s best to take a 5-10 minute screen break every hour.
Drinking water is essential in maintaining general health, but also keeps the brain stimulated. Drinking water regularly can improve your concentration, help balance your mood, and reduce stress. All are vital when working from home.
Get some fresh air
Getting some fresh air, by going for a walk, run, or even just standing at an open door, can make you feel more energised and restore a bad mood. You may want to consider working with your windows open, if possible, to circulate the air in your office space and ensure that you aren’t enclosing yourself in a stuffy environment.
Take an hour for lunch
When I’m working from home all normal protocols go out the window. That being said, I always make sure that I take an hour for lunch. This is so that I can refuel with some food, get away from my laptop, and the work that I’ve been, attempting to, do all day and reset. It’s important to take your lunch break and give yourself time to chill out. It doesn’t matter how many smaller breaks you have taken throughout the day, or how busy you have been, it is essential that you take your lunch break.
Stay in touch with people from work
I always find that staying in touch with the people I work with keeps me motivated. Whether that is through emails, Skype calls, or Slack group chats, I always stay in contact with other people I work with. Sometimes just checking in and seeing what others are doing is enough to motivate me to get off of Buzzfeed and get some work done. It also reminds me that I am not the only one who is losing focus and that we are all suffering the same issues together.
Clock off on time
Regardless of how productive you have been that day, it is important that you define a start and finish time. If you normally finish work at 5 pm, FINISH. AT. 5 pm. Whatever you have to do can be finished tomorrow. You need to establish boundaries for yourself and separate your work time from your relaxing time, even if those two things happen in the same room.
It’s hard-working from home and if you aren’t doing as much as you normally do it’s fine. We are going through a confusing and difficult time right now, so don’t penalise yourself too hard if you aren’t firing on all cylinders. The most important thing to remember is to keep yourself safe.